Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/839

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
821
THE CAUSE OF CHARACTER.

epecially connected with earthquakes, would have the precise effect of favoring the admission of water through its large fractures to deep and hot regions. Conditions of this kind are realized in all the parts of the basin of the Mediterranean which have been so frequently and violently agitated within historic times.

The facts that subterranean waters have thus taught us for the present epoch will aid in giving an idea of what they have effected in the extremely remote times of the geological periods. Minerals, which are their work, permit us to follow the track which they have left behind them through thousands of centuries. — Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue des Deux Mondes.


Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Left - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Circle - 6px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Right - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg


THE CAUSE OF CHARACTER.

IT may be taken for granted that almost everybody has a character, be the same more or less, good, bad, or indifferent, as the case may be. The exception, in fact, need only be made in favor of imbecile persons and idiots, who usually possess no character at all to speak of, or whose character is, at least, of a decidedly negative and uninteresting variety. Even those good people whom the uncompromising Scotch law describes with charming conciseness as "furious or fatuous," and delivers over to the cognizance of their "proximate agnate," must needs possess at least so much of character as is implied in the mere fact of their furiousness or their fatuity, as circumstances may determine. And furthermore, roughly speaking, no two of these characters are ever absolutely identical. The range of idiosyncrasy is practically infinite. Just as out of two eyes, one nose, a single mouth, and a chin with the appendages thereof, hirsute or otherwise, the whole vast variety of human faces can be built up, with no two exactly alike; so, out of a few main mental traits variously combined in diverse fashions, the whole vast variety of human character can be mixed and compounded to an almost infinite extent. To be sure, there are some large classes of mankind so utterly commonplace and similar that from a casual acquaintance it is hard to distinguish the individuality of one of them from that of the other: just as there are large classes of typical faces, such as the Hodge, the 'Arry, the Jemimer Ann, and the Mrs. Brown, which appear at first sight absolutely identical. But, when you come to know the Hodges and the 'Arries personally, you find that as one Hodge differs slightly from another in countenance, so do even they differ slightly from one another in traits of character and intellectual faculty. No two human beings on this earth — not even twins — are ever so utterly and absolutely alike that those who have known them familiarly for years fail to distinguish one from the other.